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18 Year Old Charged With Perry County Kidnapping After Being Pulled Over in Bell County

From WRIL The Big One -

Wednesday night June 26th, a short time before 7:00pm, Bell County Dispatch was informed of a vehicle involved in a missing Perry County juvenile search heading into the Straight Creek community.

A be-on-the-lookout had been issued by the Perry County Sheriff's Department and KSP for a gray 2016 Jeep Renegade. It was stopped on Highway 221 by law enforcement from the Bell County Sheriff's Department assisted by Pineville Police and KSP.

While it had been stated that the 14-year-old missing female juvenile was located safe prior to the bolo, 18-yearold Thomas Charles Lange of Lebanon, Tennessee was questioned at the traffic stop. Lange agreed to travel back to Perry County for further questioning and was let go.

Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle states that the report of a missing juvenile from the Delphia community was made on June 25th, 2024, by her father and sole guardian. During the investigation, it was discovered that a white male, later determined to be Lange, with long hair was observed operating the Jeep with Tennessee plates in the nearby vicinity of where the girl went missing.

Prior to this, the same vehicle driven by Lange was seen returning the juvenile to the same area where she went missing the day before. The sheriff further states that when told by witnesses that law enforcement would soon be at that location, Lange sped away from Barkcamp Branch Road and continued driving towards Tennessee before being stopped by law enforcement in Bell County.

During a recorded interview of the juvenile, the girl stated she met Lange, who called himself “Charlie" online, and that they had formulated a plan for him to pick her up and take her away from her father’s home. She stated that he drove her to his grandmother’s residence in Tennessee.

Thomas Charles Lange was then charged with kidnapping and custodial interference in relation to the incident.

Sheriff Engle said that Lange, who is not a parent or guardian, deprived the parents of the custody of the juvenile. Furthermore, he kept her from lawful custody of the juvenile’s father for over 24 hours before returning her to the general area of where he unlawfully took control of the juvenile.

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